Friday, August 19, 2011

Emily's Restaurant

So, we've made a left, run through the arcade, and then there comes - a blank, really blank,  just nothing at all like an edited memory about a horcrux kind of blank. Oh, wait - I'm beginning to see one of the empty spaces - it's set back from the boardwalk a bit. It's the Flanders Hotel. I can't believe I forgot that place. I even worked there for awhile.

Built in the 1920's in the "Spanish Mission Revival style", The Flanders had a private beach, and its swimming pools were filled with salt water. It was a pretty swank place. In my day there, it was getting a lovely genteel patina of shabbiness. Except in the workers housing whose patina was more Tobacco Road.

There was this one guy, a dishwasher there who had something like 7 or 9 degrees. He just preferred to be left alone, and I guess he made a mindless zen ritual of washing dishes (a  mostly automated procedure). As winter arrived, he'd go wash dishes at a swank hotel in Ft. Lauderdale.

I worked in the kitchen and did a little bit of everything from cooking to dish and/or pot washer. Then I moved to the other side of the door and became a waiter. I subbed for the maitre de. I even played the piano one night.

The whole place had an almost old world charm. It was even rumored that the old ballroom was haunted, as well as the cellar catacombs. When it was built, it was so modern it was "fireproof". Sadly, this turned out to be true in 1927.

The place changed hands in 1996, and was renovated with an eye towards luxury condominiums. It now has luxury suites for rent - a single with ocean view is only $400.00 per night in high season. One of the ocean view penthouses will run you $950.00 per night. From what I gather there are portions of the place which were sold off, money came in from a new partner? and who owns what sounds complicated. In 2009, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. I'm afraid though, that it's too late already. Modern photos of their high price digs don't quite look right. It's all phony now, like the faux nouveau glass paneled door to a section of the new dining facilities named Emily's, their name for one of the ghosts whose name is actually Marilyn or Maryanne. What can I say?

It was a summer friend who worked at the Flanders who turned me on to Lenny Bruce. Gosh, all those years ago. But I remember. And I remember the slum conditions of the rooms for the workers. A different world from the one inhabited by hotel guests. And I remember the sad elegance of a once grand hotel, catering to an aging clientele who were out of their time as the world passed them by.  I was lucky to see it.

1 comment:

Austan said...

Holy cow, what great memories you have. I never knew you can play piano! It's sad to see the world we knew so changed, and it's not like we're elderly... things are sped up. Thanks dahling.